5 Ways LeBron James Can Surpass Expectations in 2012-13
James needed to prove that he could be the primary reason why his team won an NBA title heading into the 2011-12 campaign. By season's end, he did specifically that.
LeBron finished with averages of 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists on his way to winning his third regular-season MVP last year. He then improved those numbers to 30.3 points and 9.7 rebounds during the playoffs. He was named Finals MVP in the process.
James now enters this season after turning in one of the best wire-to-wire performances in NBA history. Nobody is reasonably expecting LeBron to do all that again.
His only requirement for the 2012-13 season is to win that second championship. He's expected to play at an All-Star level to be sure, but accomplishing anything more from an individual standpoint would be exceeding expectations.
No. 5: Win the NBA Scoring Title
LeBron James was expected to win NBA championships as a member of the Miami Heat.
In an attempt to share the basketball with fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, however, he wasn't supposed to also put up the type of individual numbers that he did in Cleveland with the Cavaliers.
By winning his third MVP award last season, he proved his ability to achieve those individual accolades in Miami. If he was able to add a second scoring title to his resume, while winning his second NBA championship, he would exceed expectations this year.
James last won a scoring title in 2008 as a member of the Cavaliers. He averaged 30.0 points per game that season.
Last year, he finished the regular season as the NBA's third leading scorer. Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant were the only players to score more than James, averaging less than one full point per game more than he did.
No. 4: Lead Miami Heat in the Three Major Statistical Categories
Leading a team that employs both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in points, assists and rebounds is impressive. Accomplishing that feat for two seasons in a row is simply remarkable.
If LeBron is able to lead the Heat in those three major statistical categories this season, he'll have done so for the second straight time. He'll exceed expectations this year if this turns out to be the case again.
There isn't anybody who is going to give LeBron a hard time if a player like Wade leads the team this season in scoring or assists. Nor will anybody consider it a mark on LeBron's legacy if Bosh averages more rebounds.
Assuming, of course, they collectively win the NBA championship along the way.
No. 3: Win His 4th Regular Season MVP Award
If LeBron James wins his fourth MVP award this year, along with his second ring, he may actually exceed expectations for what we thought he could accomplish as a member of the Miami Heat in general.
Meaning, he'd do more than simply exceed expectations for this season.
James certainly did his best to heighten those expectations when he promised multiple championships upon arrival in Miami. But we didn't really ever think he'd win two MVPs and two NBA titles during his first three seasons.
At least I didn't expect that he would.
Only Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have ever won more than three MVPs in their career. LeBron would be joining that group if he won his fourth one this season.
No. 2: Average a Triple Double for the Season
It's been 50 years since Oscar Robertson last averaged a triple double during an NBA season. LeBron James could surpass expectations if he became the first player to do so since.
James is more capable than any other player in the game right now of averaging a triple double for an entire year. He's totaled 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for his career.
Last season he matched a career high in rebounds with 7.9 per game. He's also averaged at least seven assists or more five times, finishing with as many as 8.6 in 2010.
James has recorded a total of 40 triple doubles coming into this season. He would need to add to that number significantly while helping the Heat repeat as NBA champs, but it's certainly not out of the question at this point.
No. 1: Win the MVP, NBA Finals, and the Finals MVP—Again
This is the scenario where LeBron James blows even the craziest expectations out of the water this season.
Winning his fourth MVP, along with an NBA championship and a finals MVP on top of that.
Doing so would match the historic effort he turned in a year ago.
It could literally break the Internet in the process, while permanently attaching LeBron's name to Michael Jordan's in the conversation of greatest players ever to live.
This would mean two full seasons of ultimately dominating the NBA. I'd like to tell you this type of production, on the heels of what he did last year, is simply impossible.
Only it actually isn't.